The mother of a nine-year-old autistic boy helped by a children’s service has praised those who made “such a big difference” to his life.

Simone Clissold from Hatch End lauded Barnardo’s mental health service, Harrow Horizons who helped her son Ollie with his education after she “desperately” sought support for him.

Ms Clissold found out about the service after reading a blog for parents of children with special needs in May last year.

Harrow Times:

Harrow Horizons teams

Harrow Horizons provided one-to-one sessions with their counsellor, Mark where Ollie could express his feelings in a child-friendly setting.

Ms Clissold said: “We already had the signs that something was wrong, but as a parent, when you hear the words ‘autism’, it’s a heartbreaking moment, life changes. No one wants their child to have a label.

“When I found out about Harrow Horizons it made such a big difference to know there was a place where we could get help. Ollie was struggling at school and we were struggling as a family.

“The best thing about Harrow Horizons is that they really take the time to get to know the child and they can recognise if the sessions need to be extended. We didn’t have to ask for more sessions for Ollie. This meant he was able to build a relationship with Mark over a longer period of time and benefit at a greater level from the service.”

Lynn Gradwell, director of Barnardo’s in London, added: “Since launching Harrow Horizons, we have seen strong demand for the service, but we know there are many more children and young people, who we are not reaching who could benefit from support.”

Harrow Times:

Ollie's mum

Harrow Horizons is a service run in partnership with Barnardo’s, Harrow Clinical Commissioning Group and Harrow Council.

The charity said one in ten children and young people aged 5-16 has a diagnosable mental health condition in the UK.

For more information, visit, call 020 8427 1322 or email Alternatively drop in to Harrow Horizons at The 21 Building, 21 Pinner Road, Harrow, HA1 4ES.